Episcopal diocese closes Camp Cross for season

| May 23, 2020 1:00 AM

Bishop Gretchen M. Rehberg of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, which includes North Idaho, has announced that Camp Cross, the summer camp ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, located on Lake Coeur d’Alene, would have to close for their 2020 summer season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A video announcement and letter were sent to members of the diocese and Camp Cross alumni and registrants, and can be found at spokanediocese.org and campcross.org and on their respective social media accounts.

The decision came after much discussion and debate, Rehberg said.

“I am convinced that it is simply impossible for us to offer the programming and fellowship that is central to our Camp Cross experience this summer,” she wrote in a letter posted to the camp and diocese websites. “As we talked about needed health and safety changes, too many aspects central to our campers’ experience, were being stripped away.

“Foundational to Camp Cross is offering the inclusive love of God in a community that comes together. Singing, offering worship, eating in community, sharing in sacred circles and small groups, playing games, enjoying waterfront; all of those would have been drastically changed this summer, changed in ways that would have negatively impacted our campers’ experience.

Camp Cross joins an ever-expanding group of camps on Lake Coeur d’Alene and across the United States who have made the hard, but necessary decision, to close for the summer, diocese officials said in a press release. It has operated as a sleep away summer camp, diocesan retreat, and training space on 100 acres of McDonoald’s Point’s mostly undeveloped pine forest since 1923. This will be the first season Camp Cross has not operated a summer program since its beginning in 1923.

“In the midst of all of this, we are followers of Jesus, and we are called to continue to walk together in the way of love. Our call is to always act in ways that show love of God and love of neighbor,” Bishop Gretchen Rehberg said.

Camp officials saidd they would maintain any summer staff who wish to work this summer, utilizing them for facilities maintenance and offering leadership formation. Those who registered for camp this year will be contacted about their registration.

“I ask that you keep in your prayers all the campers, counselors, and staff who are now going to have a completely different summer than they hoped for, including all the other camps on the lake and around our country which are also now closed. I ask that you keep in your prayers all those we do not know, who will not experience God’s love through camp this summer. I ask that you pray for the ministry of Camp Cross and for all who have found God during their time there,” Rehberg said in the press release.

The diocese includes the members from 32 churches from the Cascades of Washington to North Idaho.